The Accountant – Issue 3 of 2021 (MIA Publication)
The Kevin Mahoney Award for Altruism has fast grown into one of the highlights in the MIA calendar of events. THE ACCOUNTANT meets Ryan, the son of the late Kevin Mahoney, to tell us more about the man who inspired the annual award.
You have now presented five editions of the Kevin Mahoney Awards. How does this annual occasion make you feel?
It is a moving experience every time. When my family was first contacted about this award, I grew very emotional. It was a bittersweet feeling as it was a reminder of my father’s passing but it was also a fitting commemoration of what he stood for.
Presenting the award is an absolute honour for me. But even if it salutes my father, it is mainly about the chosen recipient. Every year, I feel privileged to get to meet the awardees who are recognized for their own altruistic acts.
Who was Kevin Mahoney?
My father was a family man, an employer, and an accountant. In that order. It was always about others for him, he never put himself first whether in his professional life or his personal life. He founded his own accountancy firm, Mahoney & Co, which he managed with utmost dedication. I regret never really getting to know who he was in his professional field because I was still a university student when he passed away. However, I’ve come across many professionals in my working career who knew my father and I’m proud to say that they are full of praise for him. He seems to be known as a gentleman of great integrity and respect and he has left an impact on whoever knew him.
My father was a man of little words. He was a calm, composed and meticulous person who treated everyone with dignity and respect. He was a fair, honest and selfless person and had a witty sense of humour. He loved to read, travel, jog and play the piano, the latter being a means to unwind after a long day of work.
How was he as a father?
He was a devoted and supportive dad to my brother and myself. He was always present in our lives despite his busy schedule. I remember he would make it a point to attend Parents’ Day and any other curricular or non-curricular activity that we participated in. To him, family was first and foremost. He was always fun to be around with. I appreciate all the sacrifices he went through to give us the best he could in his life.
Your father started his own business, what kind of boss was he?
I think he was a well respected boss and his employees were happy in his employ. He kept a good relationship with each and every one of them. I remember when he became ill, he was very worried about his clients and employees. He considered his employees to be part of his extended family and felt responsible for their livelihoods.
This was also translated in his approach to business. I remember him telling us that if you can make a good living with €5, there’s no need to charge your clients €10.
Neither you nor your brother joined the profession. How did he take it?
My father never pressured us into accountancy; on the contrary, he supported us in all manners to achieve our dreams. I recall him asking me what career I wished to pursue and not once did he try to change my mind. He loved his job and was proud of the profession, but he wanted us to be free to make our own choices in life.
What is the greatest life lesson you learned from your father?
To be honest and truthful, no matter the repercussions. This is not always easy advice to take up, especially when you are young and ambitious. However, with the passage of time, I have now a better understanding of how wise and appropriate his example was. Life is full of ups and downs but, ultimately, the most important thing is to have a clear conscience.
Do you think that the values that defined your father’s career are still representative of the profession today?
The recent events with regards to money laundering may suggest some neglect of the core values, but there are still many professionals who are committed to honesty, fairness, and correctness. Unfortunately, however, those who engage in unethical behaviour overshadow the upright ones and we tend to hear more about them.
The accountancy profession is founded on the right principles and is made up of many righteous individuals who do the right thing, day in, day out. The Kevin Mahoney Award by the Institute of Accountants is clear proof that there are many accountants who use their profession as a force for good.